Established: 29
Site Map
Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Established: 30

When it came to performances of his more recent orchestral works, Bridge was thankful that they were played at all. Considerations as to whether the full impact of a particular piece would come across because of its bad position on the programme had to be brushed aside. Writing to Edward Speyer he commented:

It was very kind of you to take the trouble to write me a line about last Saturday's [October 14] 'Lament' at the Q.H. [Queen's Hall] especially when I am hoping to see you quite soon, but in any case I was delighted to have your note and am so glad you were able to hear it. If it had come on five minutes later there wouldn't have been anybody left in the Hall! I think there was certainly a miscalculation with regard to the length of the programme, and although it might have come before the Borodin Symphony, I am only too jolly pleased to get any orchestral work - large or small - performed at all. But it is so tiny that it wants placing just in the right place to make the greatest appeal.

And again:

No, Please don't write to Wood about the programme on Jan 1st [1917, including the Two Poems]. He told me originally that it was to be a popular - so-called - programme. I see it is the only new English work in the series, and although one might have wished a more serious prog[ramme] generally, I am only too delighted to get the performance.17

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, Tommy Morris joined the Royal Flying Corps and Marjorie Hayward replaced him as leader of the English String Quartet. For the next ten years, until its demise, the quartet performed less frequently in public than before, but gave much of its energies to playing at private concerts. One important series that took place during 1922-4 was held at a neighbour's studio.18 The programmes were basically of the classics, with surprisingly few modern works performed considering the rapidly expanding horizon of Bridge's musical interests. The Quartet gave further performances of the Debussy and Ravel quartets and also Ravel's Introduction and Allegro, but there was nothing more radical from Schoenberg's output than Verklärte Nacht (1899). Goossen's Two Sketches (1916) and Bridge's own Second String Quartet and Sir Roger de Coverley were the only other contemporary works.

17 Letters, Frank Bridge to Edward Speyer, 19 October and 30 November 1916.
18 This was at Marjorie Fass's house, 46 Bedford Gardens, London. (For Marjorie Fass, see Isolation: 76.) The Bridges lived at No 4, now marked by a blue plaque.